In the way of most new technologies, the number of businesses that adapt VoIP seems to equal those that still feel some apprehensions with digital telecommunications.
A common issue here is VoIP’s immense dependence on digital connections. With traditional telephony, you have actual wires and cables outside your workspace. If something goes wrong, you look out and see technicians, tinkering away here and there. There is a strange comfort in that, even when it has become unnecessary because of more advanced VoIP technology.
Dependence on digital connections is no longer a legitimate issue unless your business is in a remote island, unreachable by cloud services. VoIP is as robust and as reliable as it can be since its inception.
But, it’s true. There remains a few technical kinks that need ironing out. You are more likely to experience these when you’ve just switched to VoIP. Others occur when there are technical issues in your service or setup. Know about these and learn when and how to troubleshoot from your end.
Zero Dial Tone
This is perhaps the most worrying technical issue that you’d face with VoIP. It happens usually at the start of your VoIP switch, when your system has been incorrectly set up. The cause is probably your IP phone provisioning or your router port forwarding.
If your service provider set up your phones, they should have auto-provisioned them. If this has not been done, you need to manually provision your phones, and any additional phones you add to your system. Zero dial tone, in this case, can mean that your phone has not been allotted SIP credentials. Your phone needs to be “registered” for authentication to be successful. Otherwise, you won’t get a dial tone.
If your router port forwarding is the problem, check its settings. It should forward UDP ports 5060-5090 and 16384-16482.
Similar to the Zero Dial Tone problem is having a tone but no audio. This is likely also a port forwarding issue. Ports 5060-5090 are often used for your SIP signalling, which is why you are successfully authenticated and get a dial tone. Voice packets use 16384-16482. Having no audio can be because this is set up incorrectly.
A frustrating technical issue that you may experience every now and then is choppy audio. There are several possible causes to choppy voice, as well as solutions.
A leading reason for choppy audio is your internet connection. Check if your network speed is up to par with the requirements of good audible VoIP conversations. Test for your MOS score, packet loss, jitter and internet speed through third party services, such as VoIP Spear. Make sure to turn on your 24/7/365.
You need to make sure that your service includes enough bandwidth to support IP calls 24/7.
Another cause of choppy audio is your settings. If you’ve got less-than ideal bandwidth allotment, then you need to adjust your codecs, QoS and jitter buffer settings. Your codecs has to be G.729, which has low bandwidth requirements. QoS needs to prioritize voice and video applications, and deprioritize other bandwidth-heavy applications, such as gaming. The depth of your jitter buffer should also be increased.
Echo… now, this problem has been around since the phone was invented. More than anything, echo is an equipment issue. The volume of the speakers of your phone is too high such that the microphone picks it up and creates an echo. To solve this, just decrease the volume of your speaker.
If the problems above occur intermittently, you may be dealing with symptoms of a bigger problem rooted to your service. Before you sign up with any VoIP service provider, make sure to get the most reliable VoIP service provider in your area. Ask around. Get an ... sment of your current phone setup, cabling and other factors such as your Internet connection that may affect your VoIP experience.
Matt Larson is on the road, working and writing for global companies with a lot of help from VoIP and Wi-Fi. He is currently for VoIP Spear, a call monitoring and testing company.